Using Sinefa to verify network quality during the Planning phase of a Skype for Business roll out

Using Sinefa to verify network quality during the Planning phase of a Skype for Business roll out

Microsoft offers a great set of materials and guidance to help with deployments of Skype for Business, which can be found at www.skypeoperationsframework.com.  These guidelines cover three phases:

  • Plan
  • Deliver
  • Operate

As with all projects, prior planning prevents poor performance and a key section of the planning phase is “Determine Network Readiness”. One area of focus is assessing the quality of the network route from the client’s edge to the Microsoft datacentre with particular attention being on delay, jitter and packet loss.

Microsoft offers a couple of free tools to assist in this:

  • NetworkAssessmentTool.exe
  • ResultsAnalyzer.exe

It is great that these tools are available, however:

  • They need to be run from command prompts at individual machines
  • They need to be run on multiple machines, at various times to gain a representative view
  • The results need to be collated to see the overall picture and are still a “point in time” view
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Sinefa offers many capabilities, one of which aligns directly with the Determine Network Readiness activity.  Sinefa makes it easy to verify the network path between a local Sinefa probe (typically on the edge of the client network) and the Microsoft datacentre.  This is done by pairing the local probe with one of the public probes that Sinefa has deployed in Microsoft datacentres.  Test packets are then passed between the local/public pair and a time-based view of key quality factors is built up.  The following screen shots provide a sample of the capabilities offered by Sinefa.

The simplicity of the Sinefa interface provides immediate insights and the ability to perform historical analysis.  In this case, the availability and loss are good however there appear to be higher levels of delay and jitter.

These results can also be viewed from a perspective of what traffic is traversing the network edge to see if there are underlying applications that are impacting the network quality.

We can see that there is a steady stream of outbound traffic.  The “CrashplanV2” traffic is part of an offsite backup service and with a little more analysis we can even gain insights into the HTTPS traffic.  By applying an application filter and viewing “Utilization by Internal Host” we find that the majority of the HTTPS traffic is from a single internal host.

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Changing the filter to the internal host and then viewing “Websites” we can see that the traffic is related to iCloud

This is just a small sample of the simplicity of Sinefa’s capabilities.  The quality and performance of the link are essential in ensuring a great Skype for Business end user experience.  Determining and monitoring delay, jitter and loss are critical components of this.   

To find out how others have used Sinefa to gain control of their network as more services are delivered from the cloud please read our Customer Stories.  Create your free trial account via our website and see how you can achieve these benefits.

 

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